Per diem (which means “for each day” in Latin) is a daily allowance that U.S. federal employees may claim for reimbursement of lodging, meal, and incidental expenses while traveling. Per diem rates are established by the General Services Administration (GSA) for all destinations within the lower 48 U.S. states. Trying to find housing that fits with your per diem? Here are a handful of tips to keep in mind.
1. Find out your per diem rate.
Before you begin your search for lodging, you need to know exactly how much per diem you’ll be given for your trip so you can find accommodations that fit within that budget. The simplest way to find out your per diem rate is to check out the official GSA website’s Per Diem Rates page. After inputting the fiscal year and destination of your trip, this page will display a breakdown of per diem rates by month — for both lodging and meals & incidentals. Once you know how much money you’re working with, you can begin your search for lodging!
2. Know your temporary lodging options.
There’s a lot of temporary housing options out there! Extended stay hotels and Airbnb rentals are often very popular choices, though they aren’t always the cheapest or safest avenue. Many federal government employees looking for temporary housing instead turn to professionally managed corporate housing accommodations, like TP Corporate Lodging, which provides all the comfort and safety of a real home at a reasonable price point.
3. Don’t mix up per diem rates with “GOV” rates.
Sometimes a hotel might offer a “GOV” rate instead of offering a rate that is in line with GSA’s recommended per diem rate. It’s critical to understand that a GOV rate is different (and sometimes higher) than the federal per diem rate. If the GOV rate is higher than the per diem rate, make sure you get prior approval for the expense before booking to ensure you’re fully reimbursed.
4. Be aware of lodging taxes.
The federal per diem rate for lodging does not factor in a city’s lodging taxes, so make sure that doesn’t catch you by surprise later. According to the GSA, “lodging taxes paid by the federal traveler are reimbursable as a miscellaneous travel expense limited to the taxes on reimbursable lodging costs.”
Are you a federal employee in search of per diem lodging? We offer short-term lodging that is popular with many federal employees using their per diem. Call TP Corporate Lodging today at 800.428.9997.